Gardening in Small Spaces

Gardening in a small space can present challenges, but opportunities, too. A garden, especially a small one can form a calming, tranquil, cocoon around us. If your piece of terra firma is petite here are some guidelines to help you create an intimate garden you’ll love to retreat to.

First Things First
First decide how you will use your garden. Is it to be an outdoor “living and dining room”? Do you entertain a lot? Do you need a space for the kids to play? Once you analyze how you’ll use your garden, the next step is to sketch it out. Start by drawing a plan of the yard including the walls of the house and any existing permanent features such as walkways and trees. Then, decide what your sitting/dining needs are. Do you want a table for six close to the house, or a small cafĂ© table for two tucked into a little nook? If you have young children, is a sand box planned? You get the idea. Think about all these things, and plot them on your sketch.
Principles and Elements of Design For best results pay attention to tried and true principles and elements of design. Here are some basics:
Scale Scale is the relative size of a space or element in relation to the surroundings it is placed in. In a small garden, it’s important to keep all the elements in balance. For example a huge tree is overwhelming in a small space.
Lines Gentle, curving lines are restful. Sharp, jagged diagonals or verticals create excitement, but in a small garden may be too busy and disorganized. Rectangular forms are a good choice for small gardens because they are clearly defined.
Form or Shape Form in the garden is defined by the shapes of things in the garden including the plants, trees and shrubs. In small gardens, rectangular forms, whether in the shape of a flower bed or a patio, create an uninterrupted line, making the space seem larger. A small garden is perfectly suited to vertical gardening. You can double your garden space with climbing plants.
Texture A variety of textures creates interest in a garden. In a small garden, plants are likely to be viewed close-up where different textures can be fully enjoyed.
Colour Use colour to manipulate space. In small spaces, cooler colours – like blue, purple, green and white – open it up and make the garden seem larger. In a small space limit the varieties and colours of plants you use. Masses of one colour are more effective.
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